Background and activities




Briefly about ...

I was trained in History, Sociology, and History of Religions at the University of Oslo, and started working as lecturer at NTNU in January 2000. I became an associate professor in 2001 and full professor in 2010. 

I enjoy teaching, especially undergraduate courses, I am an enthusiastic popularizer of what others find strange, weird, or uncanny, and I'm as full time science/academia geek as my other geeky interests (and family life) allows.

Not always with equal enthusiasm, I've acted as vice chair or chair since 2002, at the Dept. of Religious Studies (reorganized 2003), the Dept. of Archaeology and Religious Studies (reorganized 2013), and Dept. of Philosophy and Religious Studies (2013- ).

Among other things, I'm a member of the European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism (ESSWE), the International Society for the Study of New Religions (ISSNR), Föreningen forskning och information om nyreligiösitet (FINYAR), and Norsk Religionshistorisk Forening, where I was secretary from early 2000's to 2022.

I'm a past (co-) editor of the Nordic journal Chaos and International Journal for the Study of New Religions, and I'm on the editorial board of a handful of other journals. I was editor of the Norwegian online journal Skepsis from the early 2000s to 2017. During most of the time I also was responsible for the whole set of webpresences for the Norwegian Skeptics Society. I was national contact for and on the management, dissemination and education committees for the COST-action Comparative Analysis of Conspiracy Theory (2015-2020). I'm a Fellow of the Academy of the Royal Norwegian Society of Sciences and Letters, where I currently lead the section for philosophy and religion.


My research tends to be about contemporary religion, its different expressions and conditions, with a sideways glance at questions of theory or method that catch my interest. The religious expressions cover the spectrum from "fundamentalism" and "New Age", to Satanism and conspiracy culture. The past few years, whenever administrative duties has allowed, I've concentrated mainly on Satanism, apocalypse- and conspiracy culture. Currently, the latter is almost sole focus, taking a more psychological (cognitive) turn.

Current collaborative ventures includes:

- Conspiracy Mentality in Norway

- Political Ideology and Conspiracy Mentality

- Conspiracy Beliefs Among Future Teachers

- Conspiracy Beliefs, School and Adolescents



I've taught as broadly in the history and sociology of religion as has at times been needed, but my main competences revolve around a type of contemporary western religion we could call 'occulture', and the theories and methods of the discipline. Among the current courses we offer, I've most often taught

RVI1010 Theories of Religion

RVI2125 Contemporary Western Religion

RVI 3900 Thesis Seminar, Master's


Thesis supervision

I primarily supervise projects related to

- new religious movements and alternative spiritualities

- western esotericism

- religion and popular culture

- conspiracy culture

- apocalypse culture

I'm also interested in relevant projects on the cultures and practices of alternative medicine, and comparative studies of rationalist movements, their discourses and practices.

Anything else is open to discussion.

Select list of publications


Dyrendal, Asbjørn and Egil Asprem. Conspirituality. in Asprem, Egil (ed.) Dictionary of Esotericism. Leiden: Brill.

Dyrendal, Asbjørn and Inga B. Tøllefsen. Conspiracy theory, altered states and alternative community. Conspiracy beliefs in a sample of Nordic yoga-practitioners.  in Francesco Piraino, Marco Pasi, and Egil Asprem (eds.) Religious Dimension of Conspiracy Theories. Connecting Old and New Trends. London: Routledge.

Dyrendal, Asbjørn. 'COVID, Conspiracy Theories, and the Nordic Countries.' In Michael Butter & Peter Knight (eds.) Conspiracy Theories and the Coronavirus Pandemic. London: Routledge.


Imhoff, Roland, Felix Zimmer, Olivier Klein, João H. C. António, Maria Babinska, Adrian Bangerter, Michal Bilewicz, Nebojša Blanuša, Kosta Bovan, Rumena Bužarovska, Aleksandra Cichocka, Sylvain Delouvée, Karen M. Douglas, Asbjørn Dyrendal, Tom Etienne, Biljana Gjoneska, Sylvie Graf, Estrella Gualda, Gilad Hirschberger, Anna Kende, Yordan Kutiyski, Peter Krekó, Andre Krouwel, Silvia Mari, Jasna Milošević Đorđević, Maria Serena Panasiti, Myrto Pantazi, Ljupcho Petkovski, Giuseppina Porciello, André Rabelo, Raluca Radu, Florin A. Sava, Michael Schepisi, Robbie M. Sutton, Viren Swami, Hulda Thórisdóttir, Vladimir Turjačanin, Pascal Wagner-Egger, Iris Žeželj, & Jan-Willem van Prooijen. "Conspiracy Mentality and Political Orientation across 26 countries". Nature Human Behaviour.


Astapova, Anastasiya, Eirikur Bergmann, Asbjørn Dyrendal, Annika Rabo, Kasper Grotle Rasmussen, Hulda Thorisdottir, and Andreas Önnerfors. Conspiracy Theories and the Nordic Countries. London: Routledge.

Dyrendal, Asbjørn and Knut Hestad. "Trust in Crisis. Conspiracy Mentality, Lack of Trust and Religiosity Predicted Conspiracy Beliefs about COVID-19 in a Norwegian Sample." Approaching Religion vol.11. No.2. DOI: 

Dyrendal, Asbjørn, Leif Edward Ottesen Kennair, and Mons Bendixen. "Predictors of belief in conspiracy theory: The role of individual differences in schizotypal traits, paranormal beliefs, social dominance orientation, right wing authoritarianism and conspiracy mentality." Personality and Individual Differences vol.173,


Dyrendal, Asbjørn. Conspiracy Theory and Religion. in Butter, Michael and Peter Knight (eds.) Handbook of Conspiracy Theories. London: Routledge

Dyrendal, Asbjørn. Conspiracy Beliefs about Jews and Muslims in Norway. In Christhard Hoffmann and Vibeke Moe (eds.) The Shifting Boundaries of Prejudice. Antisemitism and Islamophobia in Contemporary Norway. Oslo: Universitetsforlaget, pp.187-210

Dyrendal, Asbjørn and Daniel Jolley. “Conspiracy theories in the classroom: Problems and potential solutions”. Religions 11(10), 494 

Troian, Jais, Pascal Wagner-Egger, Matt Motyl, Thomas Arciszewski, Roland Imhoff, Felix Zimmer, Olivier Klein, Maria Babinska, Adrian Bangerter, Michal Bilewicz, Nebojša Blanuša, Kosta Bovan, Rumena Bužarovska, Aleksandra Cichocka, Elif Çelebi, Sylvain Delouvée, Karen M. Douglas, Asbjørn Dyrendal, Biljana Gjoneska, Sylvie Graf, Estrella Gualda, Gilad Hirschberger, Anna Kende, Peter Krekó, Andre Krouwel, Pia Lamberty, Silvia Mari, Jasna Milosevic, Maria Serena Panasiti, Myrto Pantazi, Ljupcho Petkovski, Giuseppina Porciello, JP Prims, André Rabelo, Michael Schepisi, Robbie M. Sutton, Viren Swami, Hulda Thórisdóttir, Vladimir Turjačanin, Iris Zezelj, & Jan-Willem van Prooijen. "Investigating the Links Between Cultural Values and Belief in Conspiracy Theories: the Key Roles of Collectivism and Masculinity." Political Psychology 42:4, 597-618. 


Dyrendal, Asbjørn og Terje Emberland. Hva er konspirasjonsteorier? Oslo:Universitetsforlaget


Robertson, David G. and Asbjørn Dyrendal. Conspiracy Theories and Religion: Superstition, Seekership, and Salvation. pp.411-421 in Uscinski, Joseph (ed.) Conspiracy Theories and the People Who Believe Them New York: Oxford University Press.

Dyrendal, Asbjørn, Leif Edward Ottesen Kennair, and James R. Lewis. 'The Role of Conspiracy Mentality and Paranormal Beliefs in Predicting Conspiracy Beliefs Among Neopagans'. International Journal for the Study of New Religions 8(1): 73-97

Dyrendal, Asbjørn, David G. Robertson, and Egil Asprem (eds.) Handbook of Conspiracy Theory and Contemporary Religion. Leiden: Brill.

- Robertson, David G., Egil Asprem and Asbjørn Dyrendal. "Introducing the Field: Conspiracy Theory in, about, and as Religion" (pp.1-18);

- Dyrendal, Asbjørn, Egil Asprem, and David G. Robertson. "Conspiracy Theories and the Study of Religion\s: What We Are Talking about, and Why It’s Important" (pp.21-47);

- Asprem, Egil and Asbjørn Dyrendal. "Close Companions? Esotericism and Conspiracy Theories" (pp.207-233);

- Asprem, Egil, David G. Robertson and Asbjørn Dyrendal. "Afterword: Further Reflections, Future Directions" (pp.527-534);

Dyrendal, Asbjørn. Konspirasjonsteori i undervisningen. Religion og livssyn nr. 3 2018, 42-48


Dyrendal, Asbjørn. New Age and Norwegian 'Conspirituality'. pp.159-181 in Gilhus, Ingvild, Siv-Ellen Kraft & James R. Lewis (eds.) New Age in Norway. Equinox.



Dyrendal, Asbjørn. Satanism in Norway. i Olav Hammer & Henrik Bogdan (red.): Western Esotericism in Scandinavia. Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers. ss.481-488.

Dyrendal, Asbjørn. Conspiracy Theory and New Religious Movements. in Inga B. Tøllefsen & James R. Lewis (eds.) Oxford Handbook of New Religious Movements vol. 2.  New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 198-209



Dyrendal, Asbjørn, James R. Lewis, and Jesper Aa. Petersen. The Invention of Satanism. Oxford University Press.

Asprem, Egil, and Asbjørn Dyrendal. Conspirituality Reconsidered: How Surprising and How New is the Confluence of Spirituality and Conspiracy Theory? Journal of Contemporary Religion  Vol.30, No.3: 367-382

Dyrendal, Asbjørn. Norwegian Conspirituality: A Brief Sketch. in Lewis, James R. & Inga B. Tøllefsen  (eds.)  Brill Handbooks of Contemporary Religion vol.11 Nordic New Religions. Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, pp.268-290.  


Dyrendal, Asbjørn. Hidden Knowledge, Hidden Powers. Esotericism and Conspiracy Culture. pp.200-225 i Egil Asprem & Kennet Granholm (eds.) Contemporary Esotericism. London: Equinox Publishing 2013

Dyrendal, Asbjørn, and Egil Asprem. Sorte brorskap, mørke korrespondanser og frelsende avsløringer. Konspirasjonsteorier som esoterisk diskurs. Din. Tidsskrift for religion og kultur. 2013(2): 32-61

Kennair, Leif Edward Ottesen, and Asbjørn Dyrendal. Om religion fra et evolusjonspsykologisk perspektiv. Impuls. Tidsskrift for psykologi. 2013 (1): 62-69.


Dyrendal, Asbjørn. Djevelske konstruksjoner. En historisk-tematisk oversikt over skandinavisk satanismeforskning. Aura. Tidsskrift for nyreligiøse studier.  Vol.4: 156-179

Dyrendal, Asbjørn. 'Hidden Persuaders and Invisible Wars. Anton LaVey and Conspiracy Culture'. pp.123-139 in Per Faxneld & Jesper Aagaard Petersen (eds.) The Devil's Party. Satanism in Modernity. Oxford University Press 2012. 

Dyrendal, Asbjørn.Guds lov, Guds regime? Amerikansk kristenfundamentalisme og totalitarisme. ss. 165-197 i Øystein Sørensen, Bernt Hagtvet & Bjørn Arne Steine (red.): Politikk og religion. En farlig kombinasjon? Oslo: Dreyer forlag 2012

Petersen, Jesper Aa., and Asbjørn Dyrendal. Satanism.  pp. 215-229  in O.Hammer & M. Rothstein (eds.):Cambridge Companion to New Religious Movements. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2012

Dyrendal, Asbjørn. Satan and the Beast. The Influence of Aleister Crowley on Modern Satanism. ss.369-394 in Henrik Bogdan & Martin P. Starr (eds.): Aleister Crowley and Western Esotericism. An Anthology of Critical Studies. New York: Oxford University Press 2012.

Contributions to Mona H. Klausen & Kjetil Hope (eds.). Skepsis. Guide til kritisk tenkning. Oslo: Humanist forlag 2012.



 Hammer, Olav, and Asbjørn Dyrendal. 'Hvad kan man vide om religion? Mod en kritik af den metodologiske agnosticisme', ss.117-136 i Torben Hammersholt & Caroline Schaffalitzky de Muckadell (eds.)  At kortlægge religion. Grundlagsdiskussioner i religionsforskningen. Højbjerg: Forlaget Univers.

Ulrika Mårtensson, Jennifer Bailey, Priscilla Ringrose & Asbjørn Dyrendal (eds.). Fundamentalism in the Modern World: vol. 1: Fundamentalism, Politics and History: The State, Globalisation and Political Ideologies. London: I.B. Tauris.

Ulrika Mårtensson, Jennifer Bailey, Priscilla Ringrose & Asbjørn Dyrendal (eds.) Fundamentalism in the Modern World: v. 2: Fundamentalism and Communication: Culture, Media and the Public Sphere. London: I.B. Tauris.




Dyrendal, Asbjørn. "Oh no it isn't!" Skeptics and the Rhetorical Use of Science in Religion. in Olav Hammer & James R. Lewis (eds.) Handbook of Religion and the Authority of Science. ss.879-900. Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers.

Dyrendal, Asbjørn. Sykdomsindustrien. Moderne medisin i alternativkulturens demonologi. DIN: Tidsskrift for religion og kultur 1-2 2010, ss.141-160


Dyrendal, Asbjørn. Darkness Within. Satanism as Self-Religion. i Jesper Aagaard Petersen (red.). Contemporary Religious Satanism. Oxford:Ashgate.

Søderlind, Didrik, and Asbjørn Dyrendal. Social-Democratic Satanism? Some Examples of Satanism in Scandinavia. i Jesper Aagaard Petersen (red.). Contemporary Religious Satanism. Oxford:Ashgate.

Dyrendal, Asbjørn. Media, kriminalitet og religion: satanisme som sterk ondskapsforståelse. i Impuls. Tidsskrift for psykologi. nr.2 2009. ss.30-39

Dyrendal, Asbjørn. Satanism and Popular Music. I Christopher Partridge & Eric Christianson (eds.): The Lure of the Dark Side. Satan and Western Demonology in Popular Culture. London: Equinox. 

Dyrendal, Asbjørn. Illuminerte, frimurere, katolikker og kommunister: Konspirasjonsteorier om den indre fiende i amerikansk historie. Humanist. Tidsskrift for livssynsdebatt. nr.4 2009, ss.36-51 

Hjelm, Titus, Henrik Bogdan, Asbjørn Dyrendal, & Jesper Aagaard Petersen. Nordic Satanism and Satanism Scares. The Dark Side of the Secular Welfare State.  Social Compass 56:4, pp. 515-529



Dyrendal, Asbjørn. Devilish Consumption: Popular Culture in Satanic Socialization. Numen Vol.55 No.1, ss.68-98.

Med fokus på skadevirkning.

Dyrendal, Asbjørn, and Amina Olander Lap. Satanism as News Item in Norway and Denmark. A Brief History. i Lewis, James & Jesper Aagaard Petersen (red.): Encyclopedic Sourcebook on Satanism. Buffalo: Prometheus Books. s.327-360

Dyrendal, Asbjørn. Dommedag og kollektivt selvmord. i Arnfinn Pettersen og Asbjørn Dyrendal (eds.): Dommedag! Verdens ende før og nå. Humanist forlag 2008 s.189-214.

Dyrendal, Asbjørn. Dommedagsbevegelser: teori og empiri. i Arnfinn Pettersen og Asbjørn Dyrendal (eds.): Dommedag! Verdens ende før og nå. Humanist forlag 2008. s.27-49.


Dyrendal, Asbjørn. Religionsbegrepet i kristen fundamentalisme. in Sigurd Hjelde & Otto Krogseth (eds.) Religion – et vestlig fenomen? Om bruk og betydning av religionsbegrepet. Oslo: Gyldendal Akademisk. Ss.100-116

Dyrendal, Asbjørn. Satanismens historie. Humanist 1-2007 ss.4-33.

Hoder på stake. Hva er Mungiki?

Psychology and the Satanic Ritual Abuse Controversy. A Brief Research Review.


Dyrendal, Asbjørn. Demoner. Besettende djevler og andre ondskapsfulle vesener. Oslo:Humanist forlag. 238s.

Dyrendal, Asbjørn. Fusk eller heksejakt? Saken mot Eva Lundgren. Humanist. Tidsskrift for livssynsdebatt. 1-2006. pp.48-64

Dyrendal, Asbjørn. Satanisme og populærkultur. Din. Tidsskrift for kultur og religion. 3-4 2005 pp.49-59

Dyrendal, Asbjørn. Usant og ubehagelig? in Dyrendal, Asbjørn, Arnfinn Pettersen & Didrik Søderlind (eds.) Åpent sinn eller høl i hue? Oslo: Humanist forlag. (pp.91-110.)

Dyrendal, Asbjørn. Den indre fiende i amerikansk historie. Din. Tidsskrift for kultur og religion, 1-2006, s.35-42.


Dyrendal, Asbjørn. Pseudovitenskap - en etisk utfordring? i nThorseth, May. (ed.) Psevdovitenskap og etikk. Trondheim: Skriftserie ved Program for anvendt etikk nr.5. ss.35-44.

Dyrendal, Asbjørn. Satanisme - en innføring. Din. Tidsskrift for kultur og religion. nr.4 2004. pp.47-57.


Dyrendal, Asbjørn. De andres vold - og vår. Din. Tidsskrift for religion og samfunn. 3-4 2003 (3-4), pp.2-7

Dyrendal, Asbjørn. Religionsvitenskap, religionskritikk og kritisk teori. Humanist. Tidsskrift for livssynsdebatt. 2004 (2), pp. 14-33

Dyrendal, Asbjørn. Religiøse organisasjoner og maktmisbruk. Humanist. Tidsskrift for livssynsdebatt. 2004 (3), pp.56-67

Dyrendal, Asbjørn. Et Satans mannfolk. Den autoriserte Anton LaVey. Din. Tidsskrift for kultur og religion. 2004 (2-3). pp.73-83.


Dyrendal, Asbjørn. True Religion versus Cannibal Others? Rhetorical Constructions of Satanism among American Evangelicals. (404pp.) Acta Humaniora nr. 174. Oslo: Unipub forlag

Dyrendal, Asbjørn. Denne verdens herskere. Konspirasjonstenkning som virkelighetsforståelse. in Pettersen, Arnfinn & Terje Emberland (eds.): Konspiranoia. Konspirasjonsteorier fra 666 til WTC. Oslo: Humanist forlag 2003. pp.18-50

Dyrendal, Asbjørn. Jakten på Satans tjenere. Satanismepanikkene og den paranoide stil. in Pettersen, Arnfinn & Terje Emberland (eds.): Konspiranoia. Konspirasjonsteorier fra 666 til WTC. Oslo: Humanist forlag 2003. pp.229-261

Dyrendal, Asbjørn. Ritualer og ritualer, fru Blom... Humanist. Tidsskrift for livssynsdebatt. n2003 (3), 28-45

Dyrendal, Asbjørn. Autoritet, makt og motstand som retoriske fenomen. Autoriserende og undergravende tale i debatten om nyreligiøse bevegelser. i CHAOS Dansk-norsk tidsskrift for religionshistoriske studier no.40 2003, 91-102

(If you've actually come this far: it does go on a decade further back, but a select list should stop somewhere. Nor have I included an embarassingly large number of academic blog posts, book reviews, popular essays on irrelevant topics etc.)